Katrina Volunteers reflect on recent trip - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Katrina Volunteers reflect on recent trip

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RICHLAND, Wash. - Almost a year has gone by and victims of Hurricane Katrina continue to rebuild and restore the lives. 

Members of a local church recently traveled to New Orleans to help rebuild homes.  They said this experience has changed their life and said there is still a huge amount of clean up that needs to be done.

Ellen Marsh is one of the 12 volunteers.  She said, "We live far away here in the Tri-Cities.  We really don't understand what it's like to need fresh water, trying to get electricity, trying to deal with all of your personal belongings spoiled and rotting and gone."

Members of the West Side Church in Richland traveled to New Orleans this July and got their hands dirty for two weeks.

The local group helped gut the interior of nine homes devastated by last years hurricane.  They said the experience was heart wrenching.

Marsh said, "There are a persons possessions. Their lives and we are taking their personal belongings to the street to be picked up by the trash. How would you feel if it were your possessions?"

The tough emotional side is only one of many tasks that the volunteers had to endure. Marsh said, "The smell is probably the thing I will never be able to forget because even though we had the paper mask on the mold was that black mold and all the way up to the ceiling."

Many of the homes have not been touched since Katrina struck.  The volunteers said there was mold and mildew covering everything in the homes.

Marsh said, "It was in the clothes that had been left in the dryer.  It was in the washing machine, in the bowls in the cabinet, it was rancid."

The volunteers said many hurricane victims feel like they have been forgotten about and said still much work needs to be done.